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A group of people look at artwork throughout 3 galleries A group of people look at artwork throughout 3 galleries


New on View


The museum’s galleries are continually changing as newly acquired works and loaned objects join our spaces and expand the perspectives and stories that we share.

Germane Barnes

Germane Barnes (b.1985), a native of Chicago’s West Side, is recognized widely for his contributions to contemporary architecture. The twelve digital collages that compose A Spectrum of Blackness consider the “ethnic sediments” of Black Miami, a city where the diversity of the African diaspora counters any notion that Blackness is a monolith. The collages explore three types of space—the domestic, the social, and the ecological—and the rituals that occur within them. The kitchen and the porch are as useful to understanding the dynamics of the city as a map that shows how Black enclaves in the city are situated in high flood zones. 

Find the series on view in Gallery 285.

Mahdist peoples

Sudanese soldiers wore tailored tunics like this one to mark their role in the Mahdist state’s fight for independence from British and Egyptian rule in the late 19th century. Appliqué elements, such as the sewn shapes seen here, have long held religious significance in Sudan when they appear as talismanic pockets. They also reference the woolen patches haphazardly applied to homemade garments that Sufi followers wore to declare their contempt for worldly goods. The clean lines and orderly arrangements of these patches symbolize the Mahdi’s efforts to centralize army loyalties, while still honoring soldiers’ long-held Sufi beliefs.

See this tunic on view in Gallery 137.

Elizabeth Catlett

This early sculpture by Elizabeth Catlett (1915–2012) demonstrates her confident abstraction of the human form. Notice the angular features and the way she carved deep into the stone. Catlett developed her expressive, modern sensibility through her study of African art: “After all,” she once said, “abstraction was born in Africa.” Incorporating aesthetics of simplification, planarity, and exaggeration, Catlett established her own approach to depicting African American subjects.

Now on view in Gallery 264.

Thomas Eakins

American artist Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) took the photograph Study for “Swimming” to prepare a painting commission in 1884. Swimming is now considered one of the most important works of his career for its classical representation of the vitality of American democracy, and the photograph — significantly different than the final painting — is a masterwork in itself. The men, one of whom is Eakins, pose nude in a utopian scene. At ease and alone, their camaraderie is clear. Anatomical details blur in the platinum print so that these figures merge into the landscape, free as the water they swim in.

Now on view in Gallery 1.

Camille Claudel

On public view for the first time in its history, Camille Claudel’s Young Roman is a portrait of her younger brother, Paul. The seriousness of his expression and direct gaze capture the future writer and diplomat as if he were a young and proud Roman patrician, a gravity that contrasts with the delicate drapery swirling at his shoulders and rippling on his chest. The sculpture was painted by the artist herself to imitate the appearance of ancient bronzes. A critically acclaimed sculptor of the late 19th century, Claudel was largely forgotten after being forcibly interned in a psychiatric hospital in 1913, prematurely ending her career.

See this work in Gallery 201.

Laura Aguilar

In this triptych, Laura Aguilar (1959–2018) photographs herself between the American and Mexican flags, negotiating the questions of identity that she, a self-described fat, queer, disabled woman and third-generation Mexican American, knew intimately. In the center panel, the flags wrap around her head and waist, bound to her body with a rope that twines her neck. One flag never touches the other, but each entraps her, capturing the disorientation of living between two cultures and belonging to neither.

Now on view in Gallery 2.

Julie Hart Beers

In the 1860s, Julie Hart Beers (1834–1913) launched a successful career as a landscape painter, supporting herself and her family through her artwork and teaching. She seized the few opportunities available to her for training and studio space through her brothers, who were also painters, and connected with other women artists in New York City. In this composition, a lush forest frames a luminous view of the water and mountains. Beers rendered the trees with swift brushwork and employed minute flourishes to evoke two or three figures on the shoreline.

Now on view in Gallery 170

Kukuli Velarde

In La Linda Nasca, Peruvian artist Kukuli Velarde (b.1962) explores the duality of Indigenous and Spanish influences on Andean culture. The low-fired clay sculpture reimagines the statue of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception in Cusco’s cathedral as an ancient Nasca goddess. Crowned in a silver starred halo and adorned with iconography from ancient Nasca ceramics like those stewarded by the Art Institute of Chicago, La Linda Nasca creates a throughline from pre-Columbian traditions to the post-colonial present of contemporary Latin American art. 

See La Linda Nasca on view now in Gallery 136.


Tsar Dmitry I, known also as False Dmitry I or Pseudo-Demetrius I, was the only tsar to come to power through military campaigns and popular uprisings. Supported in large part by Polish nobles, he was heavily influenced by Western tastes and politics. His Italian-made helmet, now reunited with its accompanying breast and backplate, was both highly fashionable for the time and a symbol of the tsar’s power. The upper visor above the vision slits is intricately etched with the Moscow coat of arms and an imperial double-headed eagle, announcing the sovereignty of its wearer. Unfortunately, Dmitry’s claim that he was the lost son of Ivan the Terrible was false. Within a year of his rule, the Russian nobility assassinated him and shot his ashes out of a cannon.

Now on view in Gallery 239.

Francisco de Zurbarán

The story goes that Saint Romanus of Antioch was martyred in 303 CE for encouraging imprisoned Christians who refused to make sacrifices to Roman gods. Here he is painted alongside Saint Barulas, a child of seven inspired by the elder saint’s words. In this representation of the martyrs by Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664), Romanus holds his tongue, torn out by his persecutors, in one hand and a book inscribed with a prayer for the faithful in the other. Painted to support the Counter-Reformation, the Catholic Church’s response to the Protestant movement, Zurbaran would have aimed to make the saints accessible to everyday people. In this hyper-real, detailed depiction, the figures feel close enough to touch. 

Find this newly conserved painting and frame in Gallery 211

George Minne

Belgian sculptor George Minne (1866–1941) explored the imagery of kneeling youths throughout his career. His obsession peaked in his Fountain of the Kneeling Youths, presented in 1900 at the Vienna Secession, where this plaster was likely shown alongside five counterparts. The audience was both repulsed by the gauntness of the figures and impressed with their haunting impact. Minne’s deep interest in Symbolism is reflected in the mystery and ambiguity of the piece; the posture of the thin young man, kneeling with his arms wrapped tightly around his chest, suggests a closing off of the self, but whether it’s from torment, grief, resignation, contemplation, weariness, or something else, is left to the viewer.

Now on view in Gallery 246.


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